Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

Group B Streptococcus (GBS)

Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is a common bacteria carried by 20-30% of adults. Young babies can be particularly vulnerable to it, and sadly it is the most common cause of serious infection in newborn babies and of meningitis in babies under 3 months.

On average in the UK a baby develops group B Strep infection every day and every week a baby dies from the infection. Every fortnight a baby who recovers from their group B Strep infection is left with life-long disability with half of the survivors of group B Strep meningitis suffering from blindness, deafness or physical or learning disabilities.

Whilst the majority of the time the bacteria is harmless and causes no symptoms, problems can potentially arise during pregnancy and labour if the mother is a carrier. Currently, a test for GBS is not undertaken routinely in the UK during the antenatal period, unlike in many other developed countries. If Mum is found to be a carrier, preventative measures can be put into place to avoid her passing the bacteria on to her baby, which would otherwise increase the risk of the baby developing a GBS infection.

If a woman is found to have GBS she should be offered intravenous antibiotics from the start of her labour and at various intervals throughout until her child is safely delivered.

Although rare, a GBS infection can cause stillbirth and late miscarriage. Although it is important to stress that these complication are rare, it is essential that mothers and healthcare professionals are educated about the risks so that tests can be arranged.

Wolferstans are one of the few solicitors in the UK on the legal panel of the leading charity and pressure group, Group B Strep Support.

Group B Strep Support provides vital information to pregnant women and health professionals to promote awareness of group B Strep and wants every pregnant woman to be given information on group B Strep as part of her antenatal care and the opportunity to be tested for the infection.

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Wolferstans have sadly seen an increase in the number of babies infected by group B Strep who have received inappropriate treatment, or have been given antibiotic treatment too late which has left them with serious injury. We understand that bringing a clinical negligence claim is not just about compensation; it’s about obtaining the practical support you and your child need after an injury, giving your child the best possible chance of living an active, able and fulfilling life.

If you or a member of your family have suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence and you would like to receive some free initial legal advice, without obligation, please contact Elizabeth Smith on 01752 292360 or email her at

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